By Adela Belin
Ever since we were young, we were told to excel in academics, focus on getting good grades and ace our exams. In schools and colleges, the learning has always been more directed towards academic courses but what about aspects like self-improvement and personal development that play an equally important role in people’s lives?
The importance of self-improvement often goes unnoticed. We are either conveniently brushing our shortcomings under the carpet, refusing to face them or are just happy being ignorant. Truth is – you cannot run away from yourself. The farther you run, the deeper a grave you dig because there will come a time when all those unresolved emotions will surface, leaving you overwhelmed.
So, what should you do? Start with consciously becoming more self-aware, observing your thoughts, emotions and responses and deciding to make self-improvement an integral part of your life.
Just the way learning should never stop, the same applies for self-improvement. The idea should be to focus on continuous self-development at every stage in our life and become better versions of ourselves.
Here are 12 reasons why self-improvement is important irrespective of your age:
1. Increase Self-Awareness
We spend so much time getting to know other people and solve their issues. If only we spent that much time knowing ourselves, things would have been so much more different. Isn’t it?
The first step of self-improvement requires you to become more self-aware and get to know yourself better. It makes you question yourself and face reality for what it is, however harsh it might be.
Self-awareness is an ongoing journey – as life progresses, you are met with different experiences and challenges, which make you more aware of your personality, thoughts and feelings. So, in order to be on the path of self-improvement, it is important to never lose touch with yourself.
2. Enhance Strengths
Self-improvement lets you identify your personal strengths and play on them. From relationships to careers – knowing your strengths is important for every sphere of your life.
It gives you a better understanding of what you are seeking and where you are likely to thrive and excel. It helps you set life goals and make them happen. After all, you can only achieve what you want when you KNOW what you want.
By nurturing and playing on your strengths, you are more likely to attain success and move towards shaping a happier and more productive life.
3. Overcom Weaknesses
While identifying strengths is an important aspect of self-improvement, so is coming to terms with your weaknesses. Don’t be ashamed of them, look at them as areas of improvement. We all have strengths and weaknesses that shape our personality. It is these imperfections that make us human.
The goal of improving yourself should be to look beyond those weaknesses that are stopping you from achieving greatness. Accept your weaknesses, identify where they stem from and be determined to overcome them.
It’s not easy but it’s certainly not impossible. Let your journey of self-improvement turn every weakness into a strength and only take you upward.
4. Step out of Comfort Zone
The ‘comfort zone’ is a dangerous place to be in. It surely feels good, but it also denotes stagnancy and where there is stagnancy, you can never find growth.
Choosing to work on improving yourself requires you to step out of your comfort zone. It lets you face your fears, try new things, take risks and challenge yourself. There will be times when you will discover a new side of your personality but there will also be times when you will fail.
Don’t let those failures bog you down. The fact that you tried should motivate you to never get complacent and too comfortable in familiar spaces because as they say, life begins outside your comfort zone.
5. Improve Mental Health
One of the biggest importance of self-improvement is the positive impact it has on mental health. When you work on yourself, you get to know yourself better which lets you deal with your thoughts and emotions more effectively. You begin to understand why you are experiencing certain emotions and learn how to tackle them with time.
Someone who is not self-aware and not focused on improving themselves will have absolutely no control over their reactions which can lead to added stress and anxiety. Being in denial is never the answer.
6. Heal Relationships
When you work on improving yourself, you automatically improve your relations with those around you. For example, if your short-tempered nature has always been a cause of concern in your relationships, by consciously working on that aspect of your personality, you learn how to tame your anger and become calmer. This positive change reflects in your personal and professional relationships and enhances them.
The key to combat conflicts and build meaningful relationships starts with looking inward and developing yourself first. Moreover, when you strive to become a self-sufficient person and have a positive self-image, you are bound to nurture healthy relationships.
7. Motivating Factor
Imagine climbing up a mountain – every hurdle you cross, motivates you to go higher. The same analogy holds true when it comes to self-improvement. Every fear and weakness you overcome motivates you to continue on the path of self-improvement and evolve further.
Self-improvement and motivation go hand in hand. When you see yourself developing as a human being, you are filled with optimism and the drive to push yourself to do better. It is a continuous cycle that needs you to maintain your motivation levels and be committed to continuous growth.
8. Better Decision Making
We are required to make decisions at every step in our lives and every decision has a repercussion. Moreover, it is not about making decisions as much as it is about being confident about the decision taken.
Good decision making skills come from a place of clarity, self-awareness and confidence which is a direct result of self-improvement. When you know what you want to achieve out of a situation and set your goals accordingly, you are able to make better, informed decisions.
9. Sense of Purpose
Deciding to walk the path of self-improvement and personal development gives your life purpose and meaning. Why is that important, you ask? It’s because it helps you stay focused on your life goals, makes you feel alive and keeps you motivated. It improves mental and physical well-being by keeping you on the right track.
With a sense of purpose, you learn to accept all the challenges that come along the way because you have your eyes set on what really matters – the ‘bigger picture’.
10. More Clarity
With all the distractions one is bombarded with, mental clarity is a tough state to attain. However, when you make self-improvement the primary goal of your life, you begin to start becoming more authentic and removing the clutter from your life.
Gaining clarity lets you stay focused and not engage in anything that takes you away from your goal. That said, there will be moments of confusion and indecisiveness but with experience, you will grow to become more surer of yourself while gaining clarity about your life.
11. Instill a Learning Attitude
People who are invested in their continuous self-improvement come with an extremely positive attitude towards learning. It shows that they are aware of their shortcomings and are open to receiving feedback in order to improve.
Instead of being ignorant and escaping from their problems, they make it a point to learn from their mistakes to grow and succeed.
This is a wonderful quality to have as having a learning attitude is instrumental in achieving success.
12. Cultivate Self-love
Last but not the least, self-improvement cultivates self-love and compassion. By seeing yourself grow with every passing day, you build on your confidence and self-esteem.
Many might debate that if you love yourself why must you want to change but that’s not true. Self-improvement is not changing yourself out of frustration. It is more about focusing on what matters to you and overcoming any mental hurdles that might be stopping you from reaching your highest potential .
The Bottom Line
Take this enriching journey of self-improvement in a positive light. The idea is not to get demotivated along the way and lose hope. You should instead take full responsibility of yourself and strive to go beyond your preconceived notions that might be limiting you and this can only be achieved with constant self-improvement.
So, whether you are a retired 65-year old or a 26-year old who is just starting off his/her career – remember that you will always be work in progress and there can never be an end to learning about yourself. That is what makes life purposeful and fun.
This article was first published at Lifehack